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The Best NFL Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Updated August 2, 2019 12.6k votes 207 voters 1.3k views146 items

List RulesVote up the best NFL players to have their legendary number retired for all time.

These are the best NFL players to have their numbers retired by the team where they made the biggest impact. Not every player in the NFL gets their jersey retired, it is an honor bestowed upon the best players of a franchise. The Chicago Bears have the most retired jerseys, with 14 numbers never to be worn again. Does that mean a Chicago Bear like Walter Payton will be voted to the top of this list? While all of these football players are great at the game, having your number retired does not automatically get you into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Players on this list that have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame are noted.

On a side note, Reggie White is the only player in the NFL to have his number retired by two teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers.

Look below to see all the numbers retired in the NFL and if your favorite player has had their number retired. Then vote up the players that you think played the game the best. This list does not have current players because they are still using their numbers and it does not have numbers that were retired for coaches, managers, or owners. This list is for players only and will determine the best NFL players to have had their number retired.

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  • 1

    Number: 75

    Years With Franchise: 1969–1981

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Joe Greene 

    #1 of 83 The Greatest Defensive Tackles of All Time#3 of 96 The Greatest Defensive Ends of All Time

  • 2

    Number: 19

    Years With Franchise: 1956–1972

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

    More Johnny Unitas 

    #502 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#11 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

  • 3

    Number: 7

    Years With Franchise: 1983–1998

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More John Elway 

    #11 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time#335 of 344 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

  • 4

    Number: 15

    Years With Franchise: 1956–1971

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Bart Starr 

    #3 of 94 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#74 of 163 The Smartest Professional Athletes

  • 5

    Number: 80

    Years With Franchise: 1976–1989

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Steve Largent 

    #8 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#18 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '70s

  • 6

    Number: 75

    Years With Franchise: 1961–1971

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 7

    Number: 40

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1971

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 8

    Number: 74

    Years With Franchise: 1983–2001

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Bruce Matthews 

    #9 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time#16 of 28 The Best NFL Players With The Most Pro Bowl Appearances

  • 9

    Number: 10

    Years With Franchise: 1961–1966, 1972–1978

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Fran Tarkenton 

    #12 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#1 of 39 The Best NFL Quarterbacks of the 1970s

  • 10

    Number: 85

    Years With Franchise: 1971–1984

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Jack Youngblood 

    #3 of 85 The Best University of Florida Football Players of All Time#7 of 110 The Best Los Angeles Rams of All Time

  • 11

    Number: 74

    Years With Franchise: 1962–1976

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Merlin Olsen 

    #12 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#107 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

  • 12

    Number: 66

    Years With Franchise: 1958–1972

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 13

    Number: 81

    Years With Franchise: 1967–1969

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 14

    Number: 3

    Years With Franchise: 1930–1937, 1943

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 15

    Number: 41

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1969

    More Brian Piccolo 

    #38 of 144 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time#77 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • 16

    Number: 31

    Years With Franchise: 1967

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Jim Taylor 

    #23 of 146 The Best LSU Football Players of All Time#12 of 286 The Best Green Bay Packers Of All Time

  • 17

    Number: 16

    Years With Franchise: 1962–1975

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Len Dawson 

    #19 of 63 Every Quarterback To Achieve A Perfect Passer Rating#14 of 47 The Best Super Bowl MVPs of All Time

  • 18

    Number: 39

    Years With Franchise: 1968–1974, 1979

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 19

    Number: 32

    Years With Franchise: 1957–1965

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Jim Brown 

    #287 of 289 The Coolest Actors Ever#116 of 178 The Greatest Black Actors In Film History

  • 20
    72
    22

    Floyd Little

    Number: 4

    Years With Franchise: 1967–1975

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 21

    Number: 12

    Years With Franchise: 1965–1976

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

    More Joe Namath 

    #1136 of 1,316 The Best Athletes Of All Time#110 of 325 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • 22

    Number: 56

    Years With Franchise: 1981–1993

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 23

    Number: 13

    Years With Franchise: 1960–1972

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 24

    Number: 77

    Years With Franchise: 1925, 1929–1934

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
     

  • 25

    Number: 19

    Years With Franchise: 1962–1970

    Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame